HWMR – MEETING GOD’S NEED AND PRESENT NEEDS IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY (Week 5)
Our Need to Walk in Newness of Life, to Serve in Newness of Spirit, and to Be Renewed in Our Inner Man Day by Day
2 Cor. 5:17 So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.
We have God doctrinally, but we may lack God as our life and nature in our daily life. We may be slow in our disposition, but many times God’s nature is to do things immediately, especially in the meetings. We may be quiet in our nature, but God wants us to be a new creation to utter something in the meetings against our natural habit. God desires that we all be His new creation, having Him as our nature. He also wants us to express Him. God is our portion, but can we say that He is our new habit? We all have to be brought out of our old habit into taking God as our new habit.
After we have been regenerated, we have God, but we do not have much of God. This is why Colossians 2:19 says that we need to grow with the growth of God, or increase with the increase of God. This means that we grow by the increase of God within us. If we have little increase of God, we grow little. If we have much increase of God, we grow much. When we have God in us to the fullest, we will have the full growth. God has to be increased within us. When God is increasing within us, His new element is being added into us. When the divine element comes into us, it renews us regardless of whether we are slow or quick in our natural disposition. As we are contacting God, God infuses Himself as the divine element into our being. This new element is added into our existing element. When this new element is added into us, something is worked out within us.
God desires to add Himself into our being, but He does not increase in us when we do not contact Him. We may go through a period of time in which we do not contact God or pray to Him. Instead, we are doing everything by ourselves and in ourselves. During this time, God is not added into our being, and we are not increasing with the increase of God. This is why we encourage all the saints to have morning watch. Our morning watch with the Lord is not just for us to exercise our mind to read the letter of the Bible, but it is for us to exercise our spirit. This is why we have to say “O Lord Jesus.” Our calling on the Lord is our spiritual breathing. We have to contact God by praying to Him and calling on Him. Then He adds Himself into us. When we contact Him, He is adding more and more of the divine element into our being. As the new element of God is being added into our being, this new element metabolically renews us. I may be a quick person naturally, but because God’s element comes into my being, this element renews my natural habit. I may be slow in my natural disposition, but God renews me with His element to discharge my old element. (CWWL, 1989, vol. 2, “Being Renewed Day by Day,” pp. 356-358)
Life-study of Galatians (Message 7)
Freedom in Christ Versus Slavery Under Law
Gal. 2:4 And this, because of the false brothers, brought in secretly, who stole in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into slavery.
What is this freedom in Christ? First, freedom in Christ implies liberation from obligation. Because we are free in Christ, we are no longer obligated to the law and its ordinances, practices, and regulations. Anyone who tries to keep the law makes himself a debtor to the ordinances, practices, and regulations of the law. Hence, if you try to keep the law, you will place yourself under slavery and you will serve the law as a slave. Freedom in Christ, however, liberates us from all such obligation.
Second, freedom in Christ includes satisfaction with a rich supply. If we are free outwardly but do not have anything to support us or satisfy us, this freedom is not genuine. Proper freedom is not only liberation from obligation; it is also full satisfaction because of an adequate supply and support.
Third, to be free in Christ is to enjoy rest. Those who still observe the Sabbath day do not have true rest because their efforts to keep the Sabbath place them under a heavy burden. But in Christ we have true rest.
Fourth, freedom in Christ implies the enjoyment of Christ. Because we are free in Him, we enjoy all that He is. Real freedom in Christ is the full enjoyment of the living Christ.
If we would have a proper definition of freedom in Christ, a definition that matches our experience, we need to see that such a freedom involves liberation from obligations, satisfaction through the Lord’s rich supply, genuine rest, and the enjoyment of Christ. Those who have this kind of freedom are not enslaved by anything. Although Satan may sometimes put us into a difficult situation, we can still be at rest. We need not be enslaved by any situation. Instead, we can enjoy the Lord. This means that we are free in the depths of our being. This is our freedom in Christ.
Once we have a proper understanding of freedom in Christ, it is easy to understand what slavery is. It is the opposite of freedom. Slavery under law obligates us to the law with its commandments, ordinances, practices, and regulations. However, no one can fulfill the requirements of the law. Most of the Ten Commandments control people outwardly. But the commandment related to coveting exercises an inward control. We may be able to keep the other commandments, but not this one. We simply cannot escape the greediness within us. For example, we may see someone with a new pen that is better than ours. Deep within, we desire to have a pen just like it. This is covetousness.
Because we all have human shortcomings, we cannot fulfill the requirements of the law. Throughout history, only one person—the Lord Jesus—has kept the law. The requirements of the law are too heavy for us to fulfill. If we try to keep the law, we come under the yoke of the law. In Acts 15:10 Peter said, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Slavery under law is this yoke.
If we consider this contrast between freedom in Christ and slavery under law, we shall be full of praise to the Lord. In Christ we have been liberated from all manner of obligation. In Him we also have satisfaction, rest, and enjoyment. This freedom in Christ is versus slavery under law. Many of us can testify that we have such liberation, satisfaction, rest, and enjoyment.
Life-study of Galatians (message 8)
The Truth of the Gospel
Gal. 2:5 To them we yielded with the subjection demanded not even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
The faith in Christ by which believers are justified is related to their appreciation of the Person of the Son of God. For example, in Hong Kong there are salesmen who are skillful in presenting jade and its values to people. The more they talk about jade, the more the listeners spontaneously appreciate jade. This appreciation can be compared to what we mean by faith. In our preaching of the gospel we must present Christ as the real jade. We need to present Christ as the most precious One to people. The more we describe Him and speak of His preciousness, the more something will be infused into the being of the listeners. This infusion will become their faith, and this faith will cause them to respond to our preaching. In this way they will appreciate the Person we present to them. This appreciation is their faith in Christ. Out of their appreciation for the Lord Jesus, they will want to possess Him. The Christ who has been preached to them will become in them the faith by which they believe. Faith is Christ preached into us to become our capacity to believe through our appreciation of Him.
This faith creates an organic union in which we and Christ are one. Therefore, the expression “by faith in Christ” actually denotes an organic union accomplished by believing in Christ. The term “in Christ” refers to this organic union. Before we believed in Christ, there was a great separation between us and Christ. We were we, and Christ was Christ. But through believing we were joined to Christ and became one with Him. Now we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. This is an organic union, a union in life.
This union is illustrated by the grafting of a branch of one tree into another tree. Through faith in Christ we are grafted into Christ. Through this process of spiritual grafting, two lives are grafted and become one.
Many Christians have a shallow understanding of justification by faith. How could Christ be our righteousness if we were not organically united to Him? It is by means of our organic union with Christ that God can reckon Christ as our righteousness. Because we and Christ are one, whatever belongs to Him is ours. This is the basis upon which God counts Christ as our righteousness.
Many Christians have a mere doctrinal understanding of justification by faith. According to their concept, Christ is the just One, the righteous One on the throne in the presence of God. When we believe in Christ, God reckons Christ to be our righteousness. This understanding of justification is very shallow. As we have pointed out, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, we need to believe in the Lord Jesus out of an appreciation of His preciousness. As Christ’s preciousness is infused into us through the preaching of the gospel, we spontaneously appreciate the Lord and call on Him. This is genuine believing. Through such a believing we and Christ become one. Therefore, God must reckon Him as our righteousness.
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we had this kind of experience, although we did not have the terminology to explain it. When we heard the gospel, we began to sense the Lord’s preciousness. This gave rise to the living faith that joined us to Christ organically. From that time onward, Christ and we became one in life and in reality. Therefore, justification by faith is not merely a matter of position. It is also an organic matter, a matter in life. The organic union with Christ is accomplished spontaneously through the living faith produced by our appreciation of Him. This is to be justified by faith in Christ.